Sedona Rocks (pun intended)

I just got back from a short visit to Sedona, AZ. I have wanted to go there for years and it’s so close to where I live now that I had to go.

While the visit was physically painful and exhausting, it was mentally, emotionally and spiritually transformative. My hotel room had a jacuzzi right in the room. It was mere steps from the king-sized, pillowtop bed. Both the bed and the jacuzzi helped with my pain issues.

Wildflower Inn

The real adventure started when I met two amazing women, Cynthia and Sahara, here:

Sedona HeartWalk Center

I highly recommend dropping by if you’re in the area. I had a lovely, transformative experience there and I’m still processing it. More on that later.

Images © Nicole Gilbert 2012

What is a Horoscope Wheel?

A horoscope wheel, to be succinct, is a circle divided into 12 sections. A pie chart, basically.

There are 12 sections because there are 12 signs of the zodiac, Aries through Pisces.

Each section is called a house. Each house represents an area of life. For example, the 10th house represents career, public reputation, ambition and fame, among other things.

We are going to use the horoscope wheel as a template for our vision boards, addressing the 12 areas of life.  I will give examples and help you figure out what images and words represent what you’d like to experience in each of the 12 areas.

This is gonna be fun!

I Just Had a Transcendent Experience

Just now.  Walking along, in an ordinary place in an ordinary time on an ordinary day. Which is usually when they happen, at least to me.

Suddenly, I felt myself open very wide on the inside. The phrase, “benevolent channel for love” popped into my head. That’s what I felt like. A channel for love that initially didn’t come from me, but through me, flowing outward toward every living human. Love for all humanity.

Then I felt it coming from me as well. For a moment, I felt a numinous connection to and love for every human being on the planet.

Those who know me, know this is not my typical stance.

What does it mean? I believe it means that there is something out there. That we are not alone in the universe, but that something else exists that transcends mundane reality and existence.

I have my own ideas as to what that something is. I am also willing to allow for the possibility that it’s a mere synaptic misfire.  The bottom line is, really, who cares?

If it makes you happy and gives you comfort, what harm is there in believing in a Great Benign Whatsit and accepting and allowing transcendent experiences? I know that, for me, the experience left me happier, comforted and elevated. I’m down with that.

Do You Know What Love Is?

It amazes me how many people don’t know what love is. People say they love the other person because of how that person makes them feel. Well, okay, then you’re in love with your own feelings. That is not the same as loving the other person.

If you love him because he makes you feel safe and warm, it’s not him you love. You love feeling safe and warm. And really, who doesn’t? That isn’t the point, though. If you love her because she makes you feel good about yourself, it isn’t her that you love.

When you love the other person because of his or her effect on you, what you’re in love with is the mirror they’re holding up to you, to reflect your own good bits back to yourself. As long as the mirror shows you only or mostly your good bits, you’re golden. If the mirror is tarnished or broken, though, you stop “loving” him. Because you never actually loved him in the first place.

Love is unconditional positive regard. When you feel unconditional positive regard for a person, you love her for who she is, not something she does for you. You love her for her strength, her kindness or her creativity. You cite his intelligence, his sense of humor, his compassion, etc., as the reasons you love him. You love things that are about him and who he is.

Instead, it’s typically thought that if you’ve been dating for a year it’s probably time to get married. I’d venture to say you don’t really even know this person yet. It takes a long, long time to really know someone. Instead, you marry the person who shows you the prettiest mirror. When it tarnishes, as it inevitably will, you fight and perhaps ultimately get divorced. This person doesn’t make you feel good anymore, so it must be time to break up.

The mirror becomes irrelevant when you feel unconditional positive regard for another person. It isn’t your own reflection you’re enamored of; it’s the actual person. The things you love, intelligence, humor, creativity, don’t change. They may evolve or even devolve, but they’re still in there.

Unconditional positive regard doesn’t mean you like all of his behavior. You may not agree with everything she thinks, says or does. It doesn’t mean you don’t argue or fight.

It does mean that fights are momentary and, sooner or later, you revert back to your baseline of positive regard.

A friend recently asked me if needing someone wasn’t love. That was his perspective on the subject. No, needing someone is loving the mirror they show you. If you­ need them to feel okay, then what you need is the mirror. Then he asked me if that butterflies, giddy, unable to eat or sleep thing wasn’t love. No, that’s infatuation. It may grow into love, but it’s infatuation while those feelings predominate.

Love is about the other person. It’s outwardly directed and it is about giving. It’s about the outward flow of positive regard. Years ago, I asked a friend why he thought his relationship worked. He told me he believed it was because he not only loved her, he liked her. Two kids and more than 20 years later, they’re still together.

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T.V. is Probably a Weird Place to Find Wisdom

I wish more people understood this:

Criminal Minds Quotes
Reid: “It has been said that time heals all wounds. I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue, and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.”

This is one of the things that shocks me that people don’t get. It’s also what makes me want to punch people who say things like, “Get over it.” Sorry, but that’s not how the human psyche works.

You don’t get over trauma, you just learn how to live around it.

Do You Know Where You’re Going?

Do you know where you’re going? Do you know what you really want out of life? Whether your answer to those questions is yes or no, a vision board is a tool you can use on your journey. Creating a vision board can help you figure out what you want and where you’re going. If you already have a pretty good idea, a vision board can help you clarify your dreams, provide you with a visual road map and help you focus.

What is a vision board, you ask? It is a powerful tool to keep you inspired and motivated to achieve your goals and realize your dreams. A vision board uses images, words or both to pinpoint and represent exactly what it is you want. It helps keep you on track; it keeps your “attention on your intentions.”

We now know that we stimulate the same brain regions when we visualize an action as when we actually physically perform that same action. Our subconscious minds respond to images and repeated words and phrases. The act of creating a vision board, and then putting it in a place where you will see it every day, helps our conscious minds focus on what it is we want. It also tells our subconscious minds to work on creating those things.

Several years ago, I decided that I would get a brand new Jeep Wrangler in December. I found an image of the exact Jeep I wanted and put it up in my bedroom where I would see it several times a day. I had no money and a very old car. The car I had was working on only two cylinders out of four; the other two were dead. It had no shocks, barely any brakes and the muffler was held on with a wire hanger! The whole thing rattled and shook its way down the road when I drove it.

That December, I drove that poor, sad, barely operational car from Hollywood to Ventura, (about 60 miles). I gave the dealership that car and a check post dated two weeks into the future and drove off with a brand new Wrangler with only seven miles on it. Black,full metal doors, roll up windows, kick-ass stereo, trunk, air conditioning…exactly what I wanted.

That’s an example of getting exactly what you want, but what if you are hazy on the details? In upcoming posts, I’ll be showing you how to use astrology to get clear on your dreams and goals for all areas of your life.

Could This Be Why You’re So Weird?

Are you an outlander, an outsider? Do you have trouble finding people who get you? Do you feel isolated? Do you search for meaning, connection and people who see you? Has the pain of this kind of loneliness led you to chemical dependencies? You may be a Neptunian. No, I don’t mean you’re literally from Neptune, but that the dreamy planet is strong in your astrological chart.

Donna Cunningham is a renowned astrologer and some of her books have been mainstays in my astrological education, particularly Moon Signs – The Key to Your Inner Life and Being a Lunar Type in a Solar World. I don’t know why it took me so long to find her blog, Sky Writer, but I did just recently.

On it, she has quizzes you can take to see which of the planets are strongest in your chart. The quizzes are meant to be fun and, while useful and accurate, are not the final word. The final word can be discovered using a long, complicated process that involves lots of (gak!) math.

She has quizzes for most of the planets and I took them all. I have a strong Sun, but very strong Moon, Mercury and Neptune. This fits in perfectly with the intent and purpose of this very blog!

After taking the Neptune quiz, I read all the posts and comments by others who also had high scores. Turns out, I am not alone in the universe! As I was reading, I kept nodding and thinking, “Uh-huh, uh-huh, me too.” I have searched long and hard for my tribe and it was so encouraging and such a relief to find people who actually understood my more offbeat experiences, beliefs and traits. I invited them all over for coffee.

I have always been drawn to what I call fringe dwellers: spiritual seekers, poets, artists, musicians, idealists and, for better or worse, addicts. These are all under the purview of Neptune. Come to think of it, I’ve also been all of those things, except a musician. I’m working on learning to play the drums now.

Many of my experiences have been Neptune flavored. Addictions, creativity, exploration of the dark side of life and spirituality, chemical sensitivities, lucid dreams, etc. I’ve actively sought mystical experiences, spiritual beliefs that make sense to me and what are considered dark art in visual art, movies, books and music. I don’t know how many other people do these things, but I don’t think they live around here.

To take the quizzes on Donna’s blog, you’ll need your birth chart and at least a rudimentary understanding of astrology. If you know me personally, I may be able to help you with that. You can get your chart for free at Astrodienst. Create a free account, sign in, click on “Free Horoscopes”, click on “All our free horoscopes”, then go to the bottom of the page and click on, “Chart drawing, ascendant”. Put in your birth information and, voila, your chart.

Give it a shot. I’m willing to bet it will be very eye-opening.

Next up: Astrological Vision Boards